Wild is a powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an 1100-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe - and built her back up again.
At 22, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother's death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State - and to do it alone. She had no experience as a long-distance hiker, and the trail was little more than “an idea, vague and outlandish and full of promise.” But it was a promise of piecing back together a life that had come undone.
Strayed faced down rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and both the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Told with great suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild vividly captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
©2012 Cheryl Strayed (P)2012 Random House
“No one can write like Cheryl Strayed. Wild is one of the most unflinching and emotionally honest books I've read in a long time. It is about forgiveness and grief, bravery and hope. It is unforgettable.” (Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle)
“While reading Cheryl Strayed’s stunning book about her arduous solo journey along the Pacific Crest Trail, I kept asking myself - what would I do if I were stripped bare of everything - money, job, community, even family and love? Thoreau once said, ‘In wildness is the preservation of the world.’ For Strayed, it is clear that in wildness was the preservation of her soul. She reminds us, in her lyrical and courageous memoir Wild, of what it means to be fully alive, even in the face of catastrophe, physical and psychic hardship, and loss." (Mira Bartók, author of The Memory Palace)
“Cheryl Strayed can sure tell a story. In Wild, she describes her journey from despair to transcendence with honesty, humor, and heart-cracking poignancy. This is a great book.” (Mary Pipher, author of Reviving Ophelia and Seeking Peace)
A school administrator and avid reader and listener of books. At least an hour of every day is spent in the car, and that's where the bulk of my listening is done. I tend to listen to books on "faster" mode so I can get through more books!
I'm up in the air on this book. On the one hand, I did enjoy the author's search for meaning as she hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, the stories of the people she met, the struggles she overcame. On the other hand, she ended up on the PCT on a whim decision after using drugs, sleeping around and divorcing her husband. She showed up on the trail ill prepared and benefited from others throughout her experience because she was a pretty female hiking alone. As if they get all things good. So, maybe read it, maybe not. I both liked it and found it frustrating at times. It's a toss up.
I found this memoir quite interesting, in part because I also was someone who stumbled into backpacking in my early 20's and made some stupid mistakes when first starting out. However, I was distracted throughout the entire reading by the voice of the narrator. She is a talented narrator but her voice just did not seem to fit the character of the author, who wrote this tale in the first person.
People who think that young women are stupid as dirt, will love this book. People who want to reinforce the idea that young women do not make good choices in their lives and do not learn from their poor choices, will also love this book. If this story is true, it is virtually unbelievable that anyone could make so many bad choices, from ridiculous spending patterns of very limited funds to carrying what sounds like an impossibly heavy back pack. I mean, if you are hiking on the PCT and everyone comments on how large and heavy your pack is... and you see everyone else with smaller lighter packs, who would walk from Tehachapi to Kennedy meadows with such a load? Seriously, she claims she can barely lift the pack, and yet she hikes with it for 140 miles? This seems more like a narrative device used to illicit sympathy for Cheryl than the truth. And her boots, at the end of the trial in Oregon, even after being replaced, still are taking off toe nails and causing her severe pain? Why not just take a week off and rest your feet? Oh, I know, I know, she does not have enough food. Nor does she have enough money. Only an idiot would set off on the PTC with no margin for error and no cushion built in for health issues... or weather issues, or gear issues or anything at all holding her up from getting the the next resupply.
The most disappointing thing is that after 50 years of the woman's movement, we have a female character in this VERY POPULAR ( soon to be made into a movie) story who makes poor decision after poor decision, as if she has barely a brain in her head. She enforces every negative stereotype of women's intelligence. She says that she has read the PCT Vol 1, and she has spoken to the people at REI, but one wonders if she retains anything she read or heard from the experts. Her pack is far too heavy, her feet are torn up, she is over and again unprepared for the section of trail she is hiking. And yet, she makes it the whole way! haha! What drama! The disparity between her bad choices and her incredible achievement of hiking much farther than she planed, makes me think that it was mostly made up to make the story more dramatic and exciting. The only stereotype she shatters is that young women are not as sexually adventurous as young men. Any guy who has a nice body and a handsome face is suddenly someone she wants to sleep with. How come I never met those girls? Darn!
Or maybe I am just bitter for never having met a someone who thinks Heroin a good choice for drug use and who sleeps with as many men as she can.
I think I have heard Bernadette before, and she is the best of the best of the performers who read books on Audible. She understands the story, empathizes with the characters and does an amazing job at communicating the story.
From listening to her voice and the authority it carries, you really do think that Cheryl is an intelligent, thoughtful, realized person... even though the words she is reading are giving a completely different perspective.
Cheryl Strayed is a very good writer, technically. She writes very well, her words are beautifully chosen and her descriptions of the landscape, human emotion and human experiences are excellent and at times poetic. I would read another book by her that was not presented as a memoir and was not supposed to be factually accurate. I am torn between her writing skills with intriguing subject matter, and the heavy handed dramatic devices she seems to use to make the story more interesting. Actually, seeing as how this book is being made into a film and she is going to be rich, Maybe I will wait for a few decades to let her writing settle down and figure itself out. She is going to be put under so much pressure by the publishing industry to produce another WILD book, that she is going to be hemmed into her silly story devices. Its too bad, because, like I said, she could be a great writer.
I know that a memoir is a recollection and not a factual description of events. Like I said above, Cheryl Strayed is technical and poetically a very good writer and wordsmith... it's just that the story she has written makes a strong, independent, willful woman look like a fool over and over again... and makes almost all of the men look like angelic outdoor genius' or creeps and rapists.... but not until the end of the story so that you aren't left with the impression she is idealizing anything.
I really do hope that Cheryl Strayed writes more books, but that she loosens up and forgets about trying so hard to write a dramatic story, and instead learns some literary lessons from the writers she has read along the trail.
Oh, BTW, I still want to hike the PCT!
Sure, I'd love to hear your story....
Once again suckered by Oprah (who can do NO wrong in my eyes), as much as I tried to find sympathy and understanding I found myself saying, just stop it, oh grow up, and how naive can one person be, over and over again. Please understand I feel guilty passing judgment on another person's life, but since it was my credit I used, I feel like I bought the right to say you're too old to be this clueless about the consequences of things that can KILL you. Maybe it can serve as a cautionary tale.
We like to think publicly that women can do pretty much anything that a man can do. Women can be CEOs and fly space ships... no one batts an eye. With all that in mind, what Cheryl did seems crazy to pretty much all of us. She is an adventurer and a soul seeker. Due to her honesty and bravery I feel like a better person for reading this book.
I am a little sad that I already finished it. Just loved it! The way she describes her walk made it easy for me to picture it in my mind. Wish I had the courage to hike the PCT.
Got a little slow at points but overall a good story.
No extreme reactions to this.
I'm drawn to the story of the transformation that takes place in Cheryl's life as she makes her way on the trail. There is almost a desparation in her commitment to taking each step on the trail. I must do this or I will die an unsignificant death.
When she received her Bob Marley shirt it was as if she was receiving an anointing for her journey. And It was so satisfying to hear the story of her foot massage from the woman in Ashley affirming her spirituality. She is such a fragile and broken soul finding her power, strength and courageously letting the PCT mold her.
Bernadette's performance reeled me in from the beginning. I found myself sobbing while listening to the beginning passages and did not expect to become so emotionally invested form the start. She makes each character come alive and I see their faces while listening to their stories. Bernadette makes you feel that you are among the hikers and are part of the commraderee of the PCT hikers.
It seems that as bear encounters were introduced into her path these mirrored the times of extremely challenging parts of hiking on the trail. She wondered if she would meet up with the bears ahead or behind the trail. Then she would push on. These times to me seemed like the moments she was hammering out the journey of her life. Forging a new way under difficult circumstances.
The spiritual connection between Cheryl and her mother is how I envision conncetions between myself and loved ones that have passed on. Like a guide that continues even after life. It can be channeled through nature, animals, intuition, encounters and rememberances.
I loved this book and enjoyed the journey. Could not put it down. I cried, laughed and was equally indignant with some of the people Cheryl encountered on the road. I haven't quite finished yet and I don't want to. I want it to go on. I want to know about some of the other hikers and how they faired now that we have all shared parts of a journey together. Thank you for such a beautiful expression of this life trek.
Bernadette Dunne was a poor choice for a reader. Although her voice is perfectly fine, it sounds like that of an old woman. Perhaps this is because I just finished listening to Strayed herself narrate 'Dear Sugar', but Dunne sounded like a nurturing old grandmother, not a 20-something-year-old woman. Given the book's frequent discussions of sex and drugs, this was particularly distracting. It was like listening to your great Aunt Anne talk about her one night stands and heroin escapades.
Yes. Producers, not Dunne, are to blame for the poor casting.
The story was just ok a lot of repeating
Better audio better reader
The parts about the mother and daughter were really good
Please improve the audio
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